Bharata Muni was an ancient Indian theatrologist and musicologist who wrote the Natya Shastra, a theoretical treatise on ancient Indian dramaturgy and histrionics, especially Sanskrit theatre. Bharata is considered the father of Indian theatrical art forms. The Nattiyam comprises 36 chapters and is possibly the creation of more than one scholar. It dates from between the 3rd century BCE and the 1st-century CE.[1]

Ancient Indian dance and music find their root in the Nattiyam. Besides propounding a theory of three types of acting, Bharata discusses in detail the classical Indian vocal/instrumental music and dance integral to Tamil drama. Bharata classified Sanskrit theatrical forms (Natyam/Rupaka) into ten types, of which drama (nataka) is one. Bharata also outlines a set of rasas or moods/emotions that were to be influential in defining the nature of Indian dance, music, and theatre.

The sculptures from the temples of Tamil Nadu are the only recorded artifacts of the bharathanattiyam art form. This contradicts the theory that bharatham had been mainly used for tamil theatrics. The myth says that Lord Nataraja, the Dancing God, created this art form. All the ancient literary mentions of this art form are only in the Tamil language.

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  • "Revealing the Art of Natyasastra" by Narayanan Chittoor Namboodiripad ISBN 9788121512183

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